We are very happy to welcome Tempeste O’Riley the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Tempeste recently published the second novel of the Desires Entwined series, Desires' Guardian and the short story Bound by Desire, which also is part of the series. The story Simple Desires is featured in the Grand Adventures anthology. The first book in the series is Designs of Desire. All books are available at Dreamspinner Press.
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Though new to writing M/M, Tempeste has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA. Learn more about Tempeste and her writing at http://tempesteoriley.com.
Jodi: Thank you, Tempeste, for taking the time to answer some questions for our readers. Tell us a little about yourself and how you decided to write exclusively in the m/m genre.
Tempeste: Thanks for having me over. J I’m a mom, author, priestess, and friend. I spend a lot of time (when not writing) reading, playing with my kids, and reading. As for writing exclusively in the m/m genre… I don’t actually. I have only published m/m stories so far, but I list myself as a Homoerotic author because I have characters that are more than only gay. I have bi, gay, gender-fluid (it’s hard to define sexuality for some who are fluid as when they feel more one gender than the other, would their sexual ID change as well?) and in time, more.
But, as I LOVE reading m/m books (seriously, what’s hotter than two guys—or 3 or…) and love writing… It just makes sense for me J
Jodi: The first book in the Desires Entwined series, Designs of Desire, was published in 2013. Is that your first published novel? What was your inspiration for the series?
Tempeste: It is. Designs of Desire is my first baby and will always hold a very special place within my heart.
The inspiration for Designs of Desire was a bit different than what most would expect. I was upset about how I was treated over and over while out using my crutches, and a friend told me I should use that pain and anger and then give the character a HEA. I was doubtful I could write a whole story like that, but then sat down to try anyway. What came out is Designs of Desire. The series itself is James and Chase and their friends finding love and is based in Milwaukee, WI.
Jodi: In Designs of Desire, James and Seth are very different from each other, and based on James’ background, he has a difficult time trusting Seth. Why did you decide to pair an abuse victim with physical limitations with a Dom-type character?
Tempeste: Because James needed to feel safe, loved, and protected. He’s also naturally submissive in mentality. Not that he won’t stand up for himself, but that he prefers to be the dominated partner sexually and to be cared for. As for the abuse in his background with limitations, why not. Why can’t people that have been hurt get their happily ever after? And… why does it have to be vanilla? LOL. In the case of Seth, I didn’t set out to have him be a sensual Dom; he just decided he would be on his own. It was a lot of fun to write and explore with my guys and honestly, I can’t imagine anyone better for James than Seth.
One other thing made me happy to have Seth the way he is with James… James is so afraid and feels unworthy of love. Not just unable to find love, but actually unlovable. So having an “in control” lover is really what he needs. He needs to not just be told, but be shown and this works perfect for them.
Jodi: What were your inspirations for these men?
Tempeste: Depends on the man in question. For physical inspiration, I like to browse Pinterest, lol. In the case of Desires’ Guardian, I had the image in my head for Chase, but struggled with Rhys and Dal. No clue why, but I wanted to find a real man to be my visual inspiration ;)
In looking around, I found Seth Fornea and fell in love a little. I needed a sexy ginger with lots of muscles, who would look great with either short or shoulder length hair, and a 5 o’clock shadow.
In other cases, it’s bits of men I see while shopping for people I know. I love to pick the best pieces and make new, smexy boys to love. ;)
Jodi: Why did you choose the genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
Tempeste: Because I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and as I said, the original inspiration was the pain and bias I suffer with because of my mobility issues and pain issues because of the EDS. I use forearm crutches, I will be getting the ring splint for my thumb, and I have been accosted at Wal-Mart and such for using the electric carts to shop because I don’t “look” disabled and I’m “too young”. So I wrote what I truly know, lol.
Jodi: Chase and James have a strong relationship. In the first book, it is clear the men have a special bond, but it is in Desires’ Guardian that the bond is more fully explained. Chase. How is the image of Chase as a lion appropriate?
Tempeste: Chase is so strong inside. He’s this powerful, loyal, dedicated, will tear you a new one and make you say thank you, kind of guy. Most don’t see who he truly is and even fewer know the pain and fear he lives with… what he’s gone through and made it out the other side of.
James knows Chase’s secrets, just as Chase knows his, and they each will do anything for the other. But in the case of the painting, he wanted to show everyone what he sees when he looks at his best friend and champion.
Jodi: Was it difficult for you as a writer to develop the multiple sides of Chase’s character: the party boy versus the nurturing, responsible man?
Tempeste: Not really. Most people have more to them than what any one person sees. I just decided to make that a little more pointed in Chase’s case. I’ve been told I can be very like that at times too. People that have known me for a long time seem to see a very different person than others do. I don’t usually mean to do that, but … in Chase’s case, part of that is protective coating and part is just him being him.
Jodi: Tell us a little about your inspiration for Rhys.
Tempeste: Rhys is strong, powerful, bad boy with a tender heart and secrets of his own. Well, I’m not sure secrets is the right word, but how he seems to most is not all he is either. His size gives a false perception to many that doesn’t help. He is, in some ways, patterned off a guy I used to know and lust after, lol. For my physical inspiration, see Seth above ;)
Jodi: When Rhys thinks of Chase, it is with desire and fear. Why is he afraid?
Tempeste: Did you meet his ex, Garrett? Being hurt, used, and cheated on are things he fears. Chase gives the impression of being a party boy and looks like a total twink. Well, that and Chase is his wet dream guy come to life physically, but he’s also just been burned when he meets Chase the first time so…
Jodi: Okay, I do have to ask … Do you know people like Garrett, Victor, Joey and Mike? What was the inspiration for these men?
Tempeste: Unfortunately, yes. Both personally and through friends and their past horror stories, I know people like each of the “bad” guys shown in my stories. It’s not a fact I like, but it does make it easier to write an evil baddie for the stories. (Really wish I didn’t know them though, lol)
Jodi: The issue of dominance and submission plays an important role in this series, but neither novel is traditional in the BDSM sense. Why did you choose to represent the lifestyle in this way?
Tempeste: Because not all dominance and submissiveness is what you read in the hard-core BDSM stories or what you see if you go to BDSM clubs, porn sites, etc. I wanted strong control, sensual control, and raw need, but without the whips, chains, etc.
I hate that you rarely find stories that skirt the lines, or if you do, they get attacked for not being “true,” which I’ve gotten, especially for Designs of Desire. There is no “right” or “wrong” as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual. What each person wants, craves, and is willing to trust and give is different. Each couple, whether BDSM or not, has their own idea of what’s right for them.
In Designs of Desire and Bound by Desire, I had both a Dom and a couple of Subs read before submission to check it for me. I also talked to a lot of people in the life while writing. Being a Sensual Dom, as Seth is, is a real thing. Also, with James and Seth, due to the abuse James suffered before, they had to build up to the more BDSM-type things that are more expected by many readers.
Jodi: Abuse and submission is not the same thing as the men in the series, especially James, discover. Was there a message you wanted to impart to readers?
Tempeste: That was, at least in part, the message of that facet of their relationships. I wanted to show the love, respect, and care that is part of D/s and how different that is from abuse, manipulation, and violence.
The other main thing is that everyone deserves love, there is someone out there for everyone, and that love, respect, and trust are what’s needed for a truly strong relationship, no matter what form that love takes.
Jodi: Let’s talk a little about the sensitive subjects of homophobia, rape and domestic violence in the Designs of Desire. What prompted you to include these issues?
Tempeste: Personal experience and that of a close friend. Many of the horrors James suffered happened to either one or both of us. It’s not something that’s fun to write, but it is reality. Some people manage to escape the hate and the hurt while other barely make it out… and others never do (see Desires’ Guardian and my upcoming story, Temptations of Desire). Each of my books has something that touches at least once of these issues, though, so far, only Designs of Desire has all three at once.
I wanted to include it to show those that have or currently suffer these horrors do have a chance for a future with love and respect. That what happened isn’t all there is out there for you. That you aren’t broken, unlovable, or any of the other things you’ve been told by those that want to hurt, control, and change you. In some ways, it was cathartic for me as well. I got to create people with pains and issues but then help them find their HEA. It’s the part I love the most about being an author, really.
Jodi: The covers for these books were designed by Reese Dante, and they are beautiful. What inspired you to use a single symbol to represent these characters on all three books?
Tempeste: There isn’t really a single symbol in each, though I can see why you would see it that way. In Designs of Desire, you see James’s hand with his silver ring-splints as well as his paint brush. It was meant to show his disability and his art (as was the background). The couple in the background is James and Seth.
In Bound by Desire, which is a short follow-up for James and Seth from before the wedding in Desires’ Guardian, is a collar on a sheet.
For Desires’ Guardian, we went with Chase’s hand and wrist, showing his signature wrist cuff he always wears. His hand is touching Rhys’s and there is a stylized Welsh red dragon for Rhys—the tattoo he and his younger brother Dal have wrapped around their biceps.
We went for showing both of the guys in the story but not in traditional ways, since they aren’t traditional guys. I didn’t want naked men on my covers, lol, and Reese came up with the rest. I love what she’s done and hope to keep her forever as my artist! (In fact, she just did the cover for the next book and OMG, I love it!!!)
Jodi: Will there be more books in this series?
Tempeste: Oh, yes. I have three more planned, though I’m working on a couple of standalones right now. I will get back to the guys soon, I promise. ;)
Jodi: What is your next project?
Tempeste: Which one? I have a WIP with a drreamwalker, but it’s not a paranormal story. I have one that’s a harder-core BDSM that one of the MCs is disabled. And I have another WIP that’s more a coming out vs so out you breathe glitter, lol. (Sorry, one of the characters for the last one was inspired by a guy I met recently who was wearing an “I’m so fabulous I sweat glitter” T-shirt, ;) )
Not all my stories will have any D/s elements, but some will as it’s something I love in all its varied forms.
Desires Entwined: Book Two
Most people see Chase Manning as the party-boy twink he seems on the surface. Only James, Chase's BFF, knows the depth of his loyalty and the extent of the wounds Chase carries inside. When Chase meets Rhys Sayer, things don’t go well, but he can’t shake his attraction to the huge, sexy man.
Rhys is a man of contradictions and fear—a strange combination for a PI and bodyguard. He's in a bad place emotionally when he sets eyes on Chase for the first time. When Chase puts the moves on him, Rhys insults him, thwarting any possibility of a relationship. Rhys doesn’t see himself as a complicated man, but he dreads the very kind of connection he desires.
Just as they’re trying to overcome their uncertainties, Chase is put in harm’s way. Luckily Rhys and their friends have all the right talents to help Rhys save the man of his dreams.